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Identity Crisis

The Moment I Found My True Self

By Andrew C McDonaldPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 11 min read

First day of sophomore year. English. What a crappy way to start a new school year. Not like I haven’t been speaking it my whole life. Why do I need a class on it? Sighing, I step into the classroom and do a quick survey to see who all I know…, other than my buddy Dan who pushes in behind me. Susan Kimble - filling out nicely; Billy Hixton - still with the predistressed jeans and tight tees… I stop dead in my tracks, my entire body frozen in shock. In the back of the room on the far left, next to Billy… is… well…, me. “What the fuck?” I blink rapidly and take another look. Holy crap! The guy in the green polo and jeans is definitely my double.

Whoever he is he’s engrossed in writing something in his notebook. His pen is flying across the paper. My … twin?… isn’t paying any attention to the other teens shuffling to their chosen spots. The conversations, groans, and laughter filling the space weren’t impinging on his concentration. I take a good long look. I have to be mistaken, don’t I? His nose… long, thin, a slight hook at the end…, exactly like mine. The hair, while a couple inches longer than mine and combed back where mine is parted on the left, is the same shade of dark brown. Doppleganger me glances up toward the front of the room just long enough for me to see that his eyes appear to be the same lighter shade of brown as mine. There’s a small scar just under and to the right of his mouth but those thin lips are mine.

“Dude, what’s up? You okay,” Dan says, waving a hand in front of my eyes.

Blinking, I shake my head. Nodding toward the back of the room I turn toward Dan. “ Who the fuck is that?”

Following my nod, Dan’s jaw drops. “Holy Christ! When the heck did you get cloned?”

“Fucked if I know.”

“That guy is your freakin’ clone man! What did you do? Spend the summer in some experimental government lab as a guinea pig?” Dan chuckled. “Dude, You never told me you had a twin somewhere.”

“That’s because I don’t. At least, I didn’t. I don’t have any brothers or sisters.” Shock still has me rooted to the spot and some of the other students are beginning to stare at Dan and I.

“Well, it sure as hell looks like you do. I mean, he’s gotta be, doesn’t he?”

“I guess…” At that moment Mr. Jennings walked into the room. The teacher was a mid westerner in his forties who spoke with a slight nasal twang. “Guys, girls, and others,” he said with a smile, “let’s take our seats please.”

Dan clapped me on the shoulder and we made our way to our third row seats. Glancing over my shoulder I saw that my doppleganger was still engrossed in his writing. Pulling out my cell phone I zoomed in real quick to snap a pic.

“All right, let’s tone it down please. When I call your name, respond with here.”

A murmur was spreading around the classroom as various students were noticing that there were apparently two Quentin Marcellus’ in the class. Slipping my phone back into my pocket, I glanced back. Billy Hixton was looking at me with a quizzical expression. When I met his gaze he lifted one hand, palm up, in question. I shrugged, briefly turning both hands up in an I don’t know gesture.

Billy slapped my double’s desk with one hand, causing him to look up with a startled expression. Billy pointed to where I sat, looking dumbfounded. Doppleganger’s eyes focused on me and I saw them light up; first with glee, then with …, pain, maybe? He smiled. Regardless, he, whoever he was, didn’t seem as shocked to see me as I had felt seeing him. Flummoxed, I tilted my head and just looked.

“Mary Anderson.”


I turned back to the front of the room where Mr. Jennings, eyes on the attendance roster, was calling out names to varied responses of, ‘here, present, yo,’ and such. Ignoring the strange looks being cast my way, I waited breathlessly to find out my double’s name.

Dan leaned over to me, whispering, “Do you think you were a twin and your parents gave one up for adoption?”

“I don’t know. I guess it’s possible. Hold on a sec. I want to know his name.” Dan sat back. I resumed listening to the roll call while glancing over my shoulder. My double was looking at me with a strange expression I wasn’t sure how to interpret. Still, he didn’t seem as thunderstruck as I felt. Did he know before today that I existed? If so…, how? Was he adopted? Was I?

When Mr. Jennings called out “Quentin Marcellus?” I absently responded, “Present.” The list continued as I internally clenched my churning gut. I felt slightly nauseous. “Mark Tappinski?” … “Here.” … “Anthony Trilby?” My twin responded with “Present.” Anthony. My twin’s name was Anthony Trilby. Anthony gave a wry grin and shrugged my direction.

Closing the attendance roster Mr. Jennings looked up, glancing around the room. Standing he moved over by the blackboard. “All right. You all should have received the request to come today prepared with an essay about a defining moment or experience in your life.”

I had almost forgotten about that in the strange reality loop I was locked into. Opening my folder I pulled out the essay I had hastily scrawled last night. It was about the summer trip three years back when my parents and I had taken a vacation in the Smoky Mountains National Forest and I had come face to face with a deer. A buck with five point antlers. Majestic; it had been beautiful. The deer had looked into my eyes for about five seconds before turning and calmly walking away into the trees. It had been awe inspiring. I had made a promise right then to become a vegetarian. That promise was upheld for a whole two days before I was once more wolfing down hamburgers. In my defense, I have never, to my knowledge, eaten venison.

“Would anyone like to volunteer to read their essay out loud?”

“I will.” The voice was deep. It was my voice. Only it had a different accent and came from behind me. I turned. My maybe brother was getting out of his seat; in his hand the notebook in which he had been writing so assiduously. I watched as he walked to the front of the room.

My eyes were glued to him as he strode up the aisle. He was my height, from what I could tell. Maybe slightly more muscular arms, but overall he looked like…, well, he simply looked like me with longer hair. He moved to the center of the front of the room. His eyes met mine. Probing. Questioning. They were definitely brown. My shade of brown. Deep, fearful. He looked a bit like a deer in the headlights. He gripped the notebook like it was a life preserver tossed to a drowning man. Most of the other students were looking from Anthony to me with alternating looks of bewilderment, bemusement, or, in some cases, boredom.

“Anthony, right?” Mr. Jennings said when the teen got to the front of the class.

“Yes sir. Anthony Trilby.”

“Thank you Anthony. I appreciate your bravery in going first. Please go ahead with your essay.” Patting Anthony lightly on the shoulder, Mr. Jennings returned to his desk.

Anthony looked at me again. I saw him swallow and take a deep breath. He seemed almost like he was going to cry. Raising his notebook, he looked down at it for a moment before opening it. He began to speak.

“A personal defining moment. I guess we’ve all had them. Maybe it was when you caught your first fish with your dad. Or kicked the winning goal in a soccer game. For some it was maybe meeting that one person that just takes your breath away. Regardless of what it is, we all have those moments in our lives. The difference, though, in mine is that the defining moment in my life happened while I was still too young to remember. For me, and my family, that moment happened fifteen years ago on the day when my twin brother was kidnapped. I…, we…, were one year old.” Anthony looked up, meeting my eyes. His brimmed with unshed tears.

My heart nearly stopped. What the hell? Kidnapped? Me? My mind screamed No! No way. I fell back into my seat, my entire brain in turmoil. The whole class was listening now. Every eye looking from Anthony to me. Every one was talking at once. I almost hyperventilated. Dan clapped me on the back, asking if I was all right.

“Quiet down please!” Mr. Jennings said. When the classroom had settled somewhat, he nodded to Anthony. “Please continue Anthony.”

Anthony took a deep breath. A tear trickled down his cheek. “That was the moment when the world stood still. The moment when my entire life was irrevocably changed. That was the moment that defined the next decade and a half. For fifteen years my parents have searched, prayed, hoped, and cried. Prayed that one day my brother would be found. Prayed that he was still alive. Hoping against hope, despite all those who said we had to move on, that my brother would one day be reunited safely with us. They never gave up. Then came the miracle. After fifteen years. In the paper one day they saw a picture. A picture of a high school soccer team. This high school. And there, in the team picture, was my brother. Quentin Marcellus.” Anthony, my twin, looked up at me, his eyes seeming to beg acceptance. "That was my truly second defining moment. I can only pray that my meeting of my lost brother, Jason Trilby, can be as joyous as that one.”

My jaw was hanging open as I stared at this stranger who was my brother. My brain whirled chaotically. Kidnapped? Twin? My parents…, Mom and Dad… not my parents? Jason Trilby? I’m Jason Trilby?

Anthony stood there staring at me. His cheeks were damp with tears. The whole class was quiet; waiting for the bomb to drop. The room sat there, silent, eerie, like a tomb at midnight.

How? Are my mom and dad kidnappers? I’m not really Quentin Marcellus? Holy shit! So…, now what? What if mom and dad go to jail? I looked up at Anthony - standing there. My own face looked back at me, seeming to offer almost incontrovertible proof of his tale.

Against my will, my trembling legs brought me from my seat. Shaking, I walked to where he stood. My brother. Anthony Trilby. The brother I had always wished I had. The brother stolen from me when I was just a baby. I felt a tear roll down my face. I ignored it. Reaching the place where my brother stood, I stopped. Uncertain of what to do.

Unnoticed, Anthony dropped his notebook. It hit the floor with a small thump. He raised one hand, palm out. Pleading. Reaching out to me. I reached back; tentative, scared. Panic flooded my system. My heart raced in my chest. Blood pounded in my ears. Our fingers met. A shock coursed through my arm. Locking hands with him, I pulled him close. My brother. Releasing his hand I stumbled forward, awkwardly. A dam broke. Feelings burst through in crashing waves, drowning my entire world in a torrent, a deluge of destruction. We hugged. Crying, laughing, wondering.

“Excuse me gentlemen.” Mr Jennings was standing next to us, a bemused expression on his face. I hadn’t even noticed him. “Quentin, I believe there are two people waiting in the office to meet you.”

My… real parents? Here? I had a brother. I had a whole different family.

“Go ahead boys. It’ll be okay.”

As we walked out of the classroom - the room where I had just had the most truly defining moment of my life - there were two police officers waiting to escort us to the office. I had gained something I had always wanted, but, in so doing, I had lost my core identity. I wanted to laugh and cry simultaneously. Whatever happened next, I knew my identity crisis was just starting.


This story was written for the identity challenge. I realize that the challenge seems to assume the story, poem, or essay would be based on a factual event. However; it does not actually state that it must be a true story. So…, I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you want the answers to the obvious questions inherent in the story.


For Part 2 click the following:

Young AdultMystery

About the Creator

Andrew C McDonald

Andrew McDonald is a 911 dispatcher of 30 yrs with a B.S. in Math (1985). He served as an Army officer 1985 to 1992, honorably exiting a captain.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (3)

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  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Awesome story and storytelling!!! Creatively and impressively written!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Donna Fox (HKB)3 months ago

    Wow... I wasn't ready for that Andrew!! That was intense, you did the beautiful Jobe off. building intrigue and mystery until the big reveal. I was shocked at how well Quentin took the news, as well as the rest of the class and how casually the teacher let it play out! But overall a great entry for the identity challenge!

  • Omggggg! This was so suspenseful right from the beginning! I was soooo curious why that boy looked like Quentin. I never would have guessed that he was kidnapped! Whoaaaa, that blew my mind! I hope you continue this story! I would love to know what would happen when Quentin, well Jason meets his real parents. I wonder how the kidnappers would react to this. Why did they even kidnap him in the first place.

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